Welcome to Lower Elementary Southeast
Welcome to our Lower Elementary Classroom! We are a community of active explorers who joyfully spend our days together in an environment that nurtures our love of learning.
"Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment." -Dr. Maria Montessori
Nadine Elmgren, Lower Elementary Guide
B.A. Marylhurst College, Portland, OR, Education
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Northwest Montessori Education Center, Portland OR
AMS Montessori Elementary Certification, Ottawa, Canada
The Children's House experience (1988- present):
Young Children's Community Guide, Primary Classroom Guide, Teacher
November 16, 2017
In preparation for our annual harvest feast, we have been reading different versions of the stone soup story. The message of the power of the combined efforts of community rings true in each story. The third years are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to drop a stone in the pot, that will be used for our school's soup. The excitement and richness of tradition is strong for the children as we prepare for this favorite event. I am inviting the children to bring their favorite board game or puzzle with them on the 21st, as we will have a special afternoon before our Thanksgiving break begins.
Additionally, we have been reading books about the early Native American tribes in our country. The children have been fascinated with their cultures, how they met their needs, and what good conservationists they were. We've talked about the local tribes as well, Your child may enjoy a trip to the museum in Peshawbestown, or attending the annual pow-wow in August. The Inuit exhibit at the Dennos would be fascinating to them as well.
I am so very grateful to share in the lives of your children each day. I believe that all of the lessons and experiences they have will prepare them to be peaceful contributors to our communities in the years to come. Happy Thanksgiving!
November 2, 2017
As the colder weather is upon us, and we are spending more time indoors, it has been an ideal time to present some new handwork to the children. Jana has done an amazing job of introducing us to working with wool. She told the children the history of wool complete with samples from a variety of animals. Jana organized a visit from Kat Eldrid, who talked through the process of gathering raw wool from the farmer and the steps to prepare it for use. Jana is now in process of setting up a variety of knitting choices for the children to be introduced to in the weeks ahead. If you are a knitter and would like to come in and lend a hand getting everyone started with a project, please let me know!
We have been gathering leaves and classifying them by veins and margins. The children welcome the opportunity to work outside, whether they are collecting leaves or preparing the gardens for winter. They worked with gusto last Friday at the work bee, hauling piles of brush bigger than they are in the wheelbarrow. Despite the cold, drippy day, they were eager to chip in and tackle the work to be done.
Thank you for your time at conferences. I feel fortunate to be a part of community where 100% of the families attended visiting day and conferences.
October 19, 2017
In our classroom, the children's own interests and questions, provide the basis for their explorations. The children are engaged in their quest for knowledge as the subject matter is of interest, and they interrelate their overall knowledge. Some great examples of this arose over the past couple of weeks.
Two students were working on squaring and they were having a tough time remembering the square of 7. As they were running through the multiples of seven to find it, one of them said to the other, "Let's think football scores". That was all they needed to come up with the answer! In a related event, a first year was making a noun list, and having a hard time getting started. As soon as he thought about football, he wondered if his list could be about football terms. Once he realized that was an option, he made more than one list. Finally, during a parts of a river lesson, when a student heard the term delta and its definition of the triangular part of land that is formed, he immediately thought of the airline Delta and the triangular symbol on its jets.
During read aloud we started the year with Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry. The children voted unanimously to read the sequel, Stormy, Misty's Foal, which we are currently enjoying. The children are spellbound during this time of day. It's wonderful to see the power of a good book.
October 5, 2017
An entire month of school has already passed, and our room has settled into a pleasant and predictable routine. The children all have new lessons to work on that range from animal stories, needs of plants, parts of a line, adding angles, adverbs, squaring, decimals and many more. Having diverse work going on, provides an opportunity to learn from watching others.
We have continued our Great Lessons, with the Time Line of Life. This shows the sequence of life on earth from a single cell, to plants, insects, animals and humans. This was followed with the history lesson, the long black strip. The long black strip is a stunning visual that shows how long the earth was in existence before the first human arrived. These exciting stories spark imaginations and inspire research. The youngest students are choosing something from the time line that they want to know more about to be introduced to research.
New friendships are emerging. It's great to watch the students branching out, and working with classmates they are just getting to know. We wished Malcolm and Molly Slawnik bon voyage, as they have headed off to Sydney, Australia until mid February. We look forward to exchanging letters with them in their absence. It will be exciting to learn about their adventures from the photos and tales they have promised to share.
September 21, 2017
The beginning of a fresh, new school year, is full of hope, opportunity and vitality.
Our classroom environment is beautifully prepared and the children enter with anticipation, excitement to greet friends, old and new, as they unpack all of their carefully selected supplies. We meet together to establish what the basic expectations for our community will be. Conversations are had about the balance of Freedom and Responsibly and how that translates at a very practical level. Together we establish our class creed, discussing how we want to feel and what actions will promote those feelings. Grace and Courtesy Lessons are given so the children are comfortable with the general "how-to's". Mentors are provided to help support new classmates. The Creation Story is given, the starting point to all of history, science, life and existence.
Learning the basics, such as each other's names, how to record daily work choices, and the time are reinforced. Lessons are given, some new, others in review to help clear the cobwebs that have settled in over summer. Gradually the specialists work their magic into our days.
A comfortable rhythm is starting to settle in. Just like the monarch butterfly that emerged from its chrysalis on a recent morning in our room, we too have the opportunity to soar and explore the world in the year to come.